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Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on The Baby-Eating Aliens (1/8) - Less Wrong

42 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 30 January 2009 12:07PM

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 30 January 2009 10:04:42PM 2 points [-]

Kevin, yes, a different story.

Why didn't the Babyeaters develop the practice of separate pens for each family, with tribes redistributing common resources (e.g. erratic, potentially rotting, meat from hunts) among parents, and parents feeding children out of their share?

Why doesn't modern society securitize hard assets into money of zero maturity, instead of using a purely abstract debt-based currency to denominate debts? Because it would be slightly more complicated, that's why.

Evolution doesn't do a lot of stuff that you think is a good idea. Even somewhat-intelligent designers don't do a lot of things that would be good ideas.

Producing vast numbers of offspring with big expensive full-size brains (which is itself implausible)

It was specified that Babyeater brains are small by nature, so that children already have small cheap full-size brains.

If the aliens' wetware (er, crystalware) is so efficient that their children are already sentient when they are still tiny relative to adults, why don't the adults have bigger brains and be much more intelligent than humans?

Why don't humans have bigger brains and be much more intelligent than humans? Because (a) our brains don't scale that easily - if they did, we'd evolve to get around the hip size thing somehow, the selection pressures would be enormous. And (b) because as soon as we hit the minimum possible level to get by with, we erupted out into a technological civilization.

Assume the Babyeater crystal brains are small, but architecturally subject to the limitation that every other element be in fast communication with every other element (in the human brain, a neuron is within one clock tick of every other neuron at myelinated axon speeds). Or that it biologically can't scale without internal interference / noise crushing it.

See also: MST3K Mantra.